Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring has finally arrived in Denver

It would appear that spring has arrived on time this year, although winter keeps opening the door and blasting us with some cold air and a bit of that white stuff. We try to ignore the snow, but it hangs around for a couple of days, and the dogs play in it and come in wet. 

cold spring day 
winter hangs around 
March lion 

chilly morning 
some snow in the shadows  
winter's last kiss 

I've been looking for the first signs of spring on my walks with Walker, our goldendoodle, and suddenly this past week the tiny flowers were there. First was a couple of tiny, half opened crocuses about three quarters of a mile from home. Then, the next day a bunch of yellow crocuses greeted us. 

I also found some flowers I had seen last year but didn't recognize. Checked with Kathy and she said they are forget-me-nots. They are tiny but exquisite. 

Then our own flowers recovered their composure after being tortured by frost, snow and cold all winter. These are wine-faced pansies, which shouldn't be called pansies because they are tough as nails, tough enough to have survived and bloomed all winter. Most of the winter, their petals were gathered tightly to survive the cold, but opened on warm sunny days.

Walker has decided that since the evenings are not so cold anymore, he'd like to sit on the back steps and let the freshness of the night wash over him. So last night he used one of the tricks he's trained me to do, get up and let him out when he pounds his paw on the bed next to my head, and I took him downstairs. He got a drink of water and then went out to make another inspection of the yard and then sat on the back steps, refusing to come in. His behavior takes me back to when our kids were at home--I'm just benignly ignored. 

I let him be for a bit, seeing how he seemed to be enjoying his time in the dark. I turned off the yard lights then as a signal to come on it, but he just turned around, looked at me, and said "Ha!! I'm doing just fine out here." I finally went outside and played a bit with him and then just stopped. I looked up into a moonless sky, one that was not overly obscured by the city lights, and was treated to a wonderful sight, Jupiter sitting just northeast of Orion, Sirius the dog star twinkling to the south, Casper and Pollux, the twins, to the northeast of Jupiter, and Mars low and red on the eastern horizon, just above the tree tops. 

I looked at them in wonder and thanked Walker for giving me my treat for immediately recognizing his cue to me to get up and let him out. This morning my treat was even better as a haiku came to mind.

Starry night, 
Orion, Jupiter, Mars — 
Van Gogh sky 

My training is coming along as quickly as can be expected. You certainly can train an old dog to do new tricks, but don't expect any blazing speed. Walker is kind enough not to growl at me if I'm not learning quickly enough. He just pops his paw down on the bed harder and licks any exposed skin he can find.